Kumon vs Sylvan: Comparing Math Tutoring Programs

Kumon vs. Sylvan

Kumon and Sylvan pair two in-person tutoring platforms and tutoring services offering basic and advanced features for teachers and students. These two tutoring platforms are designed to help students with their learning process by giving them access to Kumon vs. Sylvan private tutors who fulfill their academic needs in either math or reading. They are a part of this massive number of tutoring programs. As more of them become legitimate, the consumer’s choice becomes more complex as they try and find a reliable private tutor at a learning center or a child’s school.

In this review, we will explain why these two services reign supreme over most tutoring marketers, and we will break down the pros and cons of a Kumon learning center vs. a Sylvan learning center.

We will break down the different features for each program that may influence the decision of which tutoring service to use and invest in. Here are some surface-level differences between the two reading and math programs.


Product Quality 

A rigorous and studious tutoring program that prides itself on its structure. Kumon has an intense focus on repetition. While some students benefit from this structure, others struggle with the Kumon program experience and proceeding to tutor centers.

Academic Results 

Students’ skills were over a year ahead of the national average. Math students score an average of 5.27 points higher on Math SATs.


This website allows for meetings in-person and online sessions to better explore math concepts and reading concepts.


$100-$200 per month


Kumon is focused on worksheets and contains fewer opportunities for one-on-one sessions where the student can ‘learn’ math or gain experience in reading. These assignments are graded on a time scale of 30 minutes, and most of the assignments are completed at home with the student’s self-learning skills. 

3.9 Review from the Glassdoor


Product Quality 

A tutoring program that provides learning instruction is known as the “Sylvan Assessment” to get a sense of your child’s needs. This allows Sylvan to create a personalized lesson plan before the tutoring begins. There are some legitimate concerns from parents about the tutors’ commitment and focus on tutoring their child regardless of which subject they are focused on.

Academic Results 

According to their site, Sylvan students receive anywhere from two to three times more academic growth than other students.


This website allows in-person and online meetings to explore math concepts and reading strategies better.


It starts from around $200 per month. 


Sylvan designs personalized tutoring programs for each student before assigning them, tutors. These programs focus on improving their math and reading skills in a way applicable to school courses. 

4.8 Review from the ConsumerAffairs

Why You Should Consider Online Tutoring

Online tutoring services have many stylistic and results-based benefits that are different from traditional school settings. One of them is that for subjects with rigorous testing, such as reading and math, online tutoring is the best way to understand the material and increase average test scores.

Also, depending on the institution, getting individual meetings with teachers isn’t easy. Online tutoring offers an easily accessible method of finding time for one-on-one sessions.

Kumon Overview

Kumon is a dual math and reading program founded in Japan in the 1950s. Kumon has learning centers all over the country, and the vast majority of these learning centers convey Kumon’s teaching method, which has been consistent for over 60 years. This method is called the Kumon method, where the students are given just enough guidance to complete the assignments on their merit. This system is meant to create an environment where a child learns regardless of grade level, school district, learning style, etc.

What is Kumon?


Kumon is a learning system famous for drilling the basics of math and reading into children for the past 60+ years. Instead of using personalized learning plans, Kumon focuses on the basics and tests a student to the appropriate level while still keeping the program individualized.


  • Kumon has a structured curriculum with clear guidelines.
  • Kumon offers reading and math curriculums.
  • Kumon is less expensive than other curriculums.


  • Kumon is individualized but not in a way that promotes individual thinking.
  • Kumon supplies extra homework that can frustrate students.
  • Kumon employs tutors and methods that support repetitive learning.
  • Kumon is great for students who need redundant knowledge but not for anyone who needs one-on-one help and is very useful for those that need to remember specific problem-solving steps.

How Does Kumon Work?

Kumon might is mainly in-person learning centers that offer some online services that aren’t as well developed in terms of supplying a quality teacher to support a child’s education under an online tutoring format. However, the teaching methods are entirely different between the two centers. 

At Kumon, students work through worksheets dedicated to the current issue they are trying to master and have more individualized learning based on these assignments instead of conducting group assignments built around one teacher and three students. They don’t bring in their homework or move on until they have mastered that concept.

Kumon’s tutors are often high school and college students, and they charge differently depending on their qualifications. Instead of giving one-on-one advice and mentoring a small group of students, these tutors are in charge of up to a classroom full of children working on the same subject matter, such as test prep or a math program.

How Much Does Kumon Tutoring Cost?

Kumon costs anywhere from $100-$200 per month, depending on the location and subject matter. High school students and higher levels may cost more, but the sessions are all the same length. 

Kumon students attend in-person meetings twice a week for the duration of their dedicated meeting times. Most Kumon students have about 30 minutes of extra homework to complete every week. This is included in the cost.

Is Kumon Legit?

Kumon is legit. However, the business is not Better Business Bureau accredited which does the reviews for the organization, an essential source of information. 

What is Sylvan?


Sylvan is a tutoring center founded in 1979 to give children the opportunity to improve at math and reading with personalized assistance that matches the student’s needs. 

Sylvan works closely to align with state and provincial standards in the curriculum so your child will see improvement in the classroom. Sylvan also prioritizes communication to keep parents in the loop about the child’s progress in their field of focus. 


  • A personalized assessment and lesson plan that is fit each student’s preferences
  • Offers online tutoring
  • Three times the growth seen in the results for reading
  • Two times the growth seen in the results for math
  • Ultimate flexibility with their in-person support and their live, online sessions.


  • It doesn’t necessarily offer one-on-one instruction
  • Repetitive worksheets
  • Expensive sessions
  • Less flexibility in choosing their lesson plan

How Does Sylvan Work? 

Sylvan provides a “Sylvan Assessment” to verify the student’s needs and create a personalized lesson plan before the student even has their tutor decided.

Sylvan combines daily assignments from your child’s school with assistance at home. Completing the daily tasks at home allows kids to practice skills and problem-solving according to their schedule.

How Much Does Tutoring Cost?

On average, the cost with Sylvan is $100 a month. But prices may change drastically by region, zip code, and payment plan. And, some monthly payment options cause the total cost to vary.

Is Sylvan Legit?

Sylvan is a storied company, but it has some questions regarding its legitimacy. In recent years, parents have come out and labeled Sylvan as a scam that takes their money and doesn’t give their students the requisite assistance they were promised. 

What Are Customers Saying About Sylvan? 

Regarding Sylvan learning centers, the reviews show that the overall consensus seems to be that the students who use the site are pretty optimistic about the experience but that the parents do not see Sylvan as a reliable program.

Kumon vs. Sylvan Tutors Similarities

  • Both Sylvan and Kumon offer math tutoring and a reading program.
  • Both platforms are centers that provide regular homework assignments.
  • Both platforms offer teaching teams licenses for equal pay.

Kumon Tutors vs. Sylvan Tutors Differences

  • Kumon is more favored towards young students in their first school year, while Sylvan is geared more towards middle school students and above.
  • Sylvan has its method of online instructions while Kumon does not.
  • Sylvan has better results in terms of writing, while Kumon has better results in terms of math.

Kumon vs. Sylvan: Which is Better?

When deciding between either Kumon or Sylvan, the decision depends mainly on an initial assessment to see what your child needs help with. Some younger students need structure, regiment, and repetition to learn all the material at tutoring centers.

If your child needs help online, Sylvan is the better option for the two. It’s the only one that offers a physical location for tutoring and online service. Kumon is slightly less expensive and has a more flexible schedule. However, it sends extra homework to the student and isn’t as flexible regarding how the curriculum is taught. 

For a more personalized approach to learning, Kumon is the better choice. The student will have a more personalized relationship with the instructors at the center and will receive a stronger foundation of basic information due to more one-on-one sessions with Kumon than with Sylvan. 

If you want to follow Sylvan’s method and have them decide the type that best fits your student, then Sylvan is the best fit, but even then, Sylvan is not as reliable by many accounts as Kumon in terms of receiving your bang for your buck.

Overall, Kumon is the more reliable program for most students, while Sylvan is the more available program from an online perspective.

Why We Recommend Learners Instead

Why we recommended Learners

Learner is an online tutoring program that offers the best online instructors to the students who need them. Learner also has its proprietary screen and vetting process, which it uses to determine which students receive which instructors.

We recommend Learner instead for most students because Learner allows for a fully customized learning plan from the start. So, while the other two programs give students massive restrictions either in their choice of a tutor or the flexibility of their education plan, Leaner allows the student to control their lesson plan while giving the student an out.

A common theme amongst many of the reviews for Learner is that there is a surplus of examples where instructors helped their students learn by adjusting their teaching methods. Unlike the marketplace that is Wyzant, Learner is a tutoring service that only employs the best of the best and holds a rigorous vetting process for its instructors.

Frequently Asked Questions

With getting the help of a tutor, there can be a lot of questions. Hopefully, we can provide more answers to help ease finding the perfect tutor for younger and older kids.

How much does tutoring cost?

The cost of tutoring changes depending on which program the student uses. If it has a set amount determined by the tutor, then that cost typically varies between $25-$60 an hour. However, that price can go up and down for any program.

How much should I pay my tutor?

As mentioned previously, hourly pay typically ranges from $35-$55 per hour, depending on the center and education. Most companies have the first session for free and have a money-back policy if the hour spent is not beneficial to your child.

Is a tutor worth it for your child?

The tutor is worth it for your child if they need help advancing their grades. A tutor helps teach students about the material in their grades but also helps them comprehend the material in a way fit for test taking, like using worksheets. While a student has teachers, tutor assistance can further their education.

How can I find a tutor online?

For tutor programs where you get to control who your tutor is, you can sign up for Wyzant for free. If you wish for a tutor to be assigned to your students out of a bunch of qualified candidates, then Varsity Tutor or Learner is the site for you.

Is online tutoring better?

Online tutoring for children is more cost-effective and gives some interesting technological tools to the student. The ability to record lectures and have video lectures sent to the children is a significant benefit that most physical teachers don’t have. This can benefit the kids by using worksheets to comprehend their work.

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